A fireplace insert is an alternative to a traditional fireplace or wood stove. fireplace inserts are essentially fireproof boxes with an insulated glass front “window” or “door.” The unit itself may be surrounded by steel or cast iron. fireplace inserts are generally more efficient heating systems than traditional open fireplaces, which allow a lot of heat to be drawn from the room or lost up through the chimney. fireplace inserts are designed to trap heat and – with those units that feature blowers – blow it in the room, heating the occupants. Couple that with the ambiance created by a live flame and you have a winning feature for the home.
It’s been long understood that the traditional fireplace – with its open and minimal design – allows a lot of heat to escape. That heat is either drawn from the room and into the fire or lost up through the chimney. It can also be lost through the materials that surround the fireplace. fireplace inserts, on the other hand, are efficiency machines, maximizing the heating effect of the fire by radiating it out in the room through heated materials like steel or cast iron and blowing it into the room through mechanical means.
fireplace inserts can be fueled or powered by traditional wood logs, pellets, gas, electricity and propane. Gas, propane and electric fireplace inserts tend to be a little lower in maintenance needs, as they eliminate the wood-burning by-products that require both cleaning and emptying. Likewise, these non-wood models can often be started with the mere pushing of a button, where wood-burning fireplace inserts require just a little more work on the front end of things to get the fire going.
How do you go about selecting a fireplace insert that’s right for your home? Start by determining a fuel source. Market prices for cord wood, pellets, gas and electric will vary, so if operational costs are important, look into availability and prices in your area. You might find that a certain fuel type is too expensive for you. And while some fuel types – like gas or electric – don’t require as much hands-on work, in the minds of many there just is no substitute for a true, wood-burning flame.
All in all, there are many considerations to make when shopping fireplace inserts. This is one purchase where it makes a lot of sense to do the research ahead of time to truly determine which kind of insert is going to be the best fit for your home.